Una Boylan joined Armagh Theatre Group soon after its foundation in 1966 and quickly became an essential part of the group right up to 2018. Her last performance on stage in 2016 was in 'Two's' and she was scheduled to take part in a comedy this Autumn, to be held in her beloved Abbey Lane Theatre.
Given her dynamic personality she held positions on committee from: Vice-Chair, Chair and President and while acting and producing plays, she raised the necessary funds to keep us afloat through decades of raffles.
Her enthusiasm was infectious and she never stopped recruiting to the ranks at every opportunity. Dozens of young and not so young actors got their 'break' on stage due to her cajoling and encouragement.
Amagh Theatre Group will forever be indebted to her drive, enthusiasm and good humour in her efforts to bring live drama to the people of Armagh. During the time when violence and disturbances were daily occurrences she, along with others in Armagh Theatre Group provided a vital cross-community group for drama, resulting in the vibrant Drama and Arts community that continues to blossom in Armagh City today.
Due to the death of our esteemed and lifelong member Una Boylan in Blackrock Clinic,Dublin this month's Open Mic Night is cancelled out of respect to Una's memory and her family.
Una has been part of the driving force of Armagh Theatre Group since she joined in the 1960's and she held every committee position during those decades with great ability. A consummate actor, producer,organiser and raffle ticket seller her infectious laughter will live long in the memory of those she has left behind. RIP Una.
David Braziel, guest poet and slam champion delights the audience at Abbey Lane Open Mic Night in February. With one of his first poems David told us of his childhood clumsiness and his Mother's fight with doctors to investigate this. She succeeded and David had to wear calipers for hip problems for awhile. Cured? not quite as David informs me next day his clumsiness returned when he tripped in his livingroom and dislocated his knee Ouch!. He's now plastered to the thigh..Life mirrors Art again. Hoping you recover quickly David, best wishes from all in Armagh Theatre Group.
The rest of the night we had a Butterfly, Spike Milligan tribute and Limerick Laughs competition along with a host of new and old contributors. The butterfly# braved the Baltic winds to wake up under the heat of spotlights and sparked at least 2 poems on its appearance (see OMN page).
First up Margurita singing 'In my father's house; Peter Carragher's yarns and storytelling;
Andrew McMurdie# guitar/song 'Stand by me': Thomas Healy on Harp; Tim Hanna drinking Harp, & a poem; Mark Brownlee# original poetry:Theresa&Carmel sisters# singing 'Sailing by' and poem;Joe McCool poem 'Thanks'.
Peter Carragher regales us. Tim Hanna wins Limerick Laughs clapometer.
Daniel Corrigan, guitar and original song; Jacqueline McMurdie#, guitar and singing 'The Rose';
Felim Rafferty, original poem;Thomas Healy poem in Gaelic; David Braziel returned with a couple more poems; John Goodwin# sings 'Harris Mare';
Joe McGinley#, original poem; Peter Carragher jokes and Pat Prunty sang '4.3d' to finish another great OMNIGHT!
Thank you to all who partook, who came to be entertained and who helped with lights, door, bar, tea's and coffees! on such a cold night.. take a bow! (The # = new faces)
Next month's OMNight will be 30th March. Keep watching for guests and Limericks theme
The musical 'Millie Elliot' performed by Spotlight Dance Studio got its premier showing in the Marketplace Theatre last Friday night and was enthusiastically received by the big audience by giving a standing ovation to the young dance/drama school.
This production spotlighted the many trials and pressures that our young people face in modern life. It was hard hitting at times with the depiction of overdosing on drugs, pier pressure, family relationships and unemployment all touched on through the eyes of young Millie as she danced her way through these problems. An outlet that saved her and her friends from going down the wrong path.
Wonderfully choreographed by their tutor Joanne Mullen and within a hectic rehearsal period of 3 weeks these young actors, dancers and singers put on a first class show. All those 'Millie and Micky Elliot's' who performed with such vitality ...take another bow. Armagh Theatre Group are proud to have been associated with them.
A wonderful turnout for the first Open Mic of 2018 in Abbey Lane Theatre and a great response for our guest poet Mel McMahon. Mel thrilled the audience with his poems from his collection 'Out of Breath' and the endearing stories behind his work. Thanks again Mel. Along with Mel we were graced by the presence of two of Northern Ireland's leading promoters of poetry in Geraldine O'Kane and Colin Dardis from Crescent Arts Centre OMN which has been running for the past 6 years in Belfast. Catch it on the first Friday of the month 8.30 start (Purely Poetry). Thanks for calling, Colin and Geraldine, and your contributions, first class!
It's always difficult to follow great acts but Dymphna Ferran easily rose to the challenge and got us all laughing with her Bus driver yarns. John Goodwin's ''Building up and tearing England down'' was his first contribution in Abbey Lane and likewise Peter Carragher another first time visitor used his bardic skills in his poems of 'Mary Ann' on her bike and the 'The fight in Crossmaglen'. Brilliant stuff Peter and hope to see you'se both back next month.
Thomas Healy; Harp, poems and songs, Daniel Corrigan; original song/guitar, Lughaidh O'Domaile; banjo, Kevin 'Willie' Trainor; original song 'The tail of the Hare' Theresa; sang a Carol King song, Joan and Joe McCool; duet piece poetry and whistle'Michael Callaghan sang; 'Eileen is waiting for me', Dymphna slipped in with another poem (which the jury is out on) Pat Prunty sang; Robbie Burns' ''Peace and joy, love and pleasure'' capping a fantastic night.
'Limerick Laughs' was competed strongly for by Pauline McKee, Tim Hanna, Bridie Heaney (by proxy Aisling and Colin) Peter Kelly, Dymphna , Pat Prunty and myself . Management introduced new technology to smooth the decision making process which had fallen into disrepute and presented the audience with an online Clapometer. This science indicated Tim Hanna as the winner as the strongest 'FANTASTIC' score. He won a meal for two at the nearest park bench, Pat Prunty chocolates and Pauline McKee wine. The jury is also out on the Clapometer .
NEXT OMN FEBRUARY 23RD Details of guests and Limerick's laughs competition coming soon.
Mel will appear at Abbey Lane Open Mic Night Friday 26th Jan. First excerpt appropriate for the weather that's in it:
for Pat and Fiona McParland
When the storm arrived in the small hours of the night
we were unprepared-
it flicked up slates, whipped off roofs
and found its voice in the dry throat
of our attic.
Our hearts shook
as if our lives had been entered
by an intruder
and our words to each other
were as gentle as the leaves dropping
onto lawns as the wind passed.
TIESfor Anne McParland
Such a simple deed
now marks the passage of time.
I bend to tie my mother's shoes
where once she bent for mine.
Having packed the Studio Theatre at the Market Place Armagh for their three night run the cast and crew of 'Gaslight' take a deserved break. As with all our productions we lean on the generosity and kindness of many to let us indulge in our chosen madness so apart from the members of ATG we would like to thank. The ARMAGH CLUB, Armagh: Thomas Daly Furniture and Antiques,Battleford Rd Armagh: ABC COUNCIL: the staff and management of Market Place Theatre and of course, you our faithful supporters. Just a few shots of the stage going up and coming down.
With guests having torturous journeys in their efforts to get to 'Abbey Lane' yesterday, due to Ryan Air and Northway disruptions, it was a surprise we ended up with a show at all. But as my Mother use to say "these things are sent to try us" and we rose to that challenge with some aplomb. A debt of gratitude is owed to Brian and Eithne Vallely from the Piper's Club who, even Michael O'Leary's intransigence, could not deflect their efforts to attend from London. Yet where one overcomes hundreds of miles of travel our other guest, Colin Hassard, frustratingly was thwarted in his attempt to travel from Banbridge via Port -e- down! The lesson there is travel by Scarvair via Tandragee!Colin. Better luck next time. Last night's contributors included Thomas Healy's first collection of poetry 'True Loss', Joan Clendinning proving she STILL is firing on all cylinders as she recited a Longfellow's poem unaided and Michael Callaghan with the aid of his 'walker' coming to the stage and singing so beautifully 'Where my Ellen is waiting for me' . New writings and stories from Dymphna, Tim, Ann and Malachi. Another first by Elma McEneaney with her Ukulele and her Mother, Ann, solo singing and dueting with her. Margarite Kelly singing 'Sonny' and Pat Prunty with her redition of Teddy O'Neill'. Finally the big prize in the Limerick Laughs competition was won by Bridie Heaney and thanks to Linda from L.A. IMAGE in Thomas Street ARMAGH for the generous Gift token. Bridie said, in an exclusive interview, she"will use it to help beautify herself for her new roll" in the Bardic production coming soon. We await with bated breath!.
Invited by our friend and Artistic Director of Sunflowerfest, Colin Hassard, to perform at this years' festival ATG members travelled in high spirits to Hillsborough Co Down. Arriving at the site in a downpour of biblical proportions an impromptu meeting was held in Kelly's car to decide '' shall we stay or shall we go''
And in the true spirit of ATG decided to 'carry on regardless' dawning wellies , coats and hats. Given priority parking due to Dymphna's 'blue badge' we arrived behind the main stage feeling like real rock&rollers . The thunder clouds had moved on towards Belfast but you wouldn't have thought it as the bands speakers sent vibrations through you with deafening levels. We dined in salubrious surroundings.
Performed to enthusiastic revellers heavily intoxicated by the festival atmosphere (which some of us gave in to)
Then returned to normal Sunday evening life in Armagh with another item marked of the 'Bucket List'. Roll on 2018!
This month's OMN in Abbey Lane has firmly established itself as the John Hewitt Fringe event in only its second year. With the continued support of local talent and the injection of visiting artists attending the 'Hewitt' we were spoilt with wonderful original writing, music, poetry, songs and stories throughout the evening. From the wonderful Mother and Son duo of Joan and Mark Clendenning to the youthful Eva Powell who won our Limerick Laughs competition and ran off with the first prize of an Embers Restaurant meal voucher. Many thanks to John, proprietor, for the donation. The night got of to a great start when Pat and Aidan Prunty along with Joe McCool on whistle played a traditional sailing set. Other contributors were Dymphna Ferran (original poetry)Crystal Campbell ( Ukulele and original song) Thomas Healy( original poetry)Malachi ('Armagh and what about your Da') Peter ( songs and guitar)Paul Carson (prose European cities)Jimmy Rafferty (Bard of Armagh)Caren Blayney (original poetry) Eric Greaves and Pat Prunty (trad mandolin/bodhran music), Finbar Magee (performance poetry and Bard)Thomas Eillott (Belfast story original) Raquel McKee (original rap about Jamaican spuds) #see video. Yvonne Boyle (original poetry) Stephen Buggy (original short story in heraldry prose)and Ingrid Casey (original poetry. Peter wrapped up the full night with a couple of singalong songs that had the rafters rocking. HOW MUCH WOULD A NIGHT LIKE THIS BE? £5 inc wine and nibbles!!!!!
NB; Next Open Mic will not be till September 29th. So keep the pen to paper and remember everyone has a story to tell. Thanks again to all who came, it's you make the night memorable.
The rapper SFJ previously known Rafferty.
The real Rapper Raquel McKee (One potato two potato)
Yvonne Boyle ( poet)
Eric Greaves and Pat Prunty
Thomas Eillott (poet and storyteller)
Full house again at Abbey Lane.